Widnes Vikings tasted defeat for the first time under Tim Sheens on Sunday, as London Broncos ran out 38-12 winners at the DCBL Stadium.
The Vikings head coach was forced into two changes, as Danny Craven requires surgery on a broken finger and Kenny Baker sat out the fixture due to suspension. Warrington Wolves duo Declan Patton and Leilani Latu came in on dual registration.
London had penned the Vikings deep inside their own half for the majority of the first 10 minutes, before back-to-back penalties gave Jack Owens the chance to put his side two points ahead. The Widnes captain took that opportunity, striking the penalty through the posts.
The lead for the home side lasted just two minutes, as Owens dropped a last tackle kick which led to Josh Walters barging his way over from close range. Kieran Dixon couldn’t convert, with the Broncos leading 4-2.
With a quarter of the game gone, a cut-out pass from Patton was well read by Dixon who raced 70 metres to score and converted his own effort.
Five minutes later the away side further extended their lead, with Matty Fozard taking on the line before reaching out to score from close range. Dixon’s conversion opened up a 14-point lead.
Widnes enjoyed their best spell of the first period soon after, as they manoeuvred their way into a dangerous position through back-to-back penalties. The hosts couldn’t take advantage, as Owens knocks on trying to latch onto an inside pass from Patton.
London made the Vikings pay, as they ran the ball on the last tackle and utilised the size and strength of Eddie Battye, who barged over from close range.
With two minutes of the half remaining, Eloi Pelissier added to the hosts’ misery as he found his way over the try line from dummy half, as Widnes trailed by 24-points at the break.
Widnes scored their first try of the contest five minutes into the second half, as Owens delayed a cut-out pass perfectly to send Deon Cross over at the flag for a four-pointer.
The Vikings needed to go back-to-back to be in with a chance of mounting a comeback, but as they looked to ship the ball wide from deep in their own half an interception from Tuoyo Egodo handed the London winger a simple try.
Just after the hour mark, a towering bomb from Matty Smith was spilled by James Meadows, and from the resulting set Owens showed great footwork to race over from dummy half.
With three minutes left on the clock, Smith tried a chip and chase which was well read by Cory Aston, who raced 50 metres to score under the crossbar.
Matty Fozard’s conversion from in front was the final scoring play of the game, as the Vikings fell to their first defeat of the season
Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Jack Johnson, Lloyd Roby, Jake Spedding, Deon Cross, Dec Patton, Matty Smith, Ted Chapelhow, Logan Tomkins, Pat Moran, Shane Grady, Sam Wilde, MacGraff Leuluai.
Interchanges: Joe Edge, Joe Lyons, Leilani Latu, Owen Farnworth.
Tries: Cross (45), Owens (63) Goals: Owens 2/3
London Broncos: James Meadows, Kieran Dixon, Jacob Armitage, Tuoyo Egodo, Matty Fozard, Cory Aston, Rob Butler, Sam Davis, Olsi Krasniqi, Josh Walters, Rhys Curran, Eddie Battye.
Interchanges: Dan Norman, Daniel Hindmarsh, Eloi Pelissier, Jordan Williams.
Tries: Walters (14), Dixon (20), Fozard (25), Battye (33), Pelissier (38), Egodo (55), Aston (77) Goals: Dixon 4/6, Fozard 1/1